So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

I have always felt that I was in the wrong profession. After the initial passion wore off after a few months into the job, I was more convinced that I was not cut out for this job. 

I read many books on how to find the job you love and each one of them tells me that I need to discover my passion. After many years of trial and error, I still have not figured out what my passion is. 

So Good They Can’t Ignore You gives a refreshing new perspective on finding work you love. 

According to this book, there are people who make a great career following the passion hypothesis (what your work offers youbut it is very rare. 

Most people aren’t born with pre-existing passions to be discovered.

That makes me feel a little better about not figuring out what my passion is.

If the passion hypothesis is not the way to go about finding work that I love, am I doomed to get stuck in a job that I do not love?

When I did a careful analysis of my work, I realized that I do not like this job because it lacks these traits:

  • control: I can’t choose to shorten my hours
  • recognition: I am not valued for my skills 
  • impact: I don’t feel that my work have any directly positive impact on people’s lives

All of these actually coincides with So Good They Can’t Ignore You is saying, that career passion is rare. 

I realized what started many people on their successful careers is: making extra spending cash. That is why Steve Jobs first dabbled in electronics and why Ryan Voiland became a farmer. 

The book goes on to describe in detail how to go about finding work you love. The steps are: 

  1. Have a craftsman mindset: in other words, be So Good They Can’t Ignore You
  2. Career capital: work on and improve on buildup of rare and valuable skills with constant immediate honest feedback using deliberate practice (activists that stretch your abilities) 
  3. Leverage career capital to gain control of your work but 
    • control requires career capital to support it 
    • employers will fight your efforts to gain more autonomy 
  4. Do what people are willing to pay for:  money is a neutral indicator of value. By aiming to make money, you’re aiming to be valuable 
  5. Have a clear and compelling mission: have a unifying focus on your career and maximizes your impact on the world
  6. Think small act big: get to the cutting edge of your field, find a career mission and go for it 
  7. Take incremental steps: deploy small, concrete experiments that return concrete feedback 
  8. Be remarkable: for a mission to produce a sustainable career, it has to produce purple cows, the type of remarkable projects that compel people to spread the word about the project in a venue that supports these remarks

At the last part of the book, the author Cal Newport details how he put what he learnt into practice. 

Get So Good They Can’t Ignore You. 

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